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This lovely Pecorino is named after the Papilio machaon butterfly that lives in Abruzzo meadows and forests. The wine is made from biodynamic grapes, grown on limestone and clay, and fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel. Aromas of melon, pineapple, and lemon zest mingle with salty, briny notes and a touch of dried flowers and anise. The palate is refreshing and mineral with bright acidity and juicy tropical and citrus fruits, lemon zest, a touch of mint and anise with a tangy finish. This is a perfect sipping wine that can easily be enjoyed on its own or paired with crunchy salads, fish dishes or white meats.
Crivella is made with fruit from Bianco’s oldest vines, including some planted in the mid 1800s by Riccardo’s great-great-something grandfather; such old vines are extremely rare, and while they produce very little fruit, it’s impossible for Riccardo to even think about replacing them. At a tasting in the shop a customer said, “Like Sauternes with bubbles!” which was a lovely way to describe the wine and its rich and unctuous character. made lively with fizz. While there’s no botrytis, Crivella is much more complex and detailed than all but the very best Sauternes. I’ve certainly never tasted anything like it — a stunning wine. Jamie Wolff
From 100% Fiano grapes grown in clay soils in the Sannio DOC, in inland Campania. The vineyards are farmed organically and the wine is fermented with natural yeasts and undergoes malolactic fermentation. The nose os a beautiful medley of white flower and stone fruit, and the palate shows minerality, herbal character, as well as a hint of savoriness and petrol. Great density on the palate is balanced with good acidity. Oskar Kostecki
A perennial favorite of ours! This is one of the most eagerly awaited skin contact wines for us, and the 2018 vintage does not disappoint. Made from the distinct Trebbiano Spoletino grape grown in the hills around Montefalco in Umbria. The grapes are hand-harvested in late October, fermented on the skins for 10 days, with daily punch-downs to extract color and structure. The wine is copper-colored and the nose is an explosion of stone fruit, peach nectar, preserved lemon, pungent blossom, tea leaves, chamomile, and dried hay. The aromatic complexity continues on the palate, with great phenolic grip, ripe tannins, and a hint of dried spices. Unlike some of its cousins, Trebbiano Spoletino keeps its acidity late into the growing season, and so the Maceratum has a fresh edge to all of its denser and more rounded elements. A near-perfect orange wine. Oskar Kostecki
Manzoni Bianco is an early 20th-century crossing of Riesling and Pinot Bianco, and is almost exclusively planted in a small corner of the Dolomites. Elisabetta Foradori has a small 3 hectare parcel above the town of Trento, farmed biodynamically on clay-limestone soils. Though the wine only sees 3 or 4 days of skin maceration, there is a wonderful richness and texture to the Manzoni, coupled with notes of citrus, citrus peel, honeysuckle, almond, and a definitive herbal character running through it. Very expressive. The wine ages mostly in acacia barrels, with 15% in clay. Oskar Kostecki
Passerina is a grape that I have little experience with beyond the wines of La Visciola in Lazio, which is a real shame given the depth of flavor a lifted texture the wines show. An obscure variety native to Lazio (and possibly distinct from a grape also named Passerina that grows along Italy’s Adriatic coast). The 2015 shows a more lifted character than the 2014. The nose is fairly tight on opening, giving notes of tart apple and pear leading into thyme and white flowers after a few minutes in the glass. Medium body with a soft texture and crisp acidity, the flavors show more candied lemon peel, green apple, and tart pear. Try it with grilled fish, potato or white pizza, soft cheese, or cured pork. Andy Paynter
Lamoscata 2017 is the first wine that Mongioia has made in anfora – in this case ceramic, so not very porous, with a very small exchange of oxygen – this is not Georgian-style wine. Instead I think the anfora confers some extra texture and complexity. How else to explain this quite extraordinarily, crazy complex Moscato, like no other in its class? The nose is multi-dimensional, with intense rich peach and apricot, and hazelnut dominating. The wine is very clean and fresh on the palate, boosted with a hint of green apple and plenty of those stone fruits. They carry through to a very long and lingering finish that seems to be supported and freshened by citrusy, icy spring water. A wild wine – a must try. Jamie Wolff
In the Moscato d’Asti zone, farming is driven by volume over quality – almost all the wine made there is from industrial agriculture and industrial winemaking, which is why Moscato is usually cheap wine in every regard. The fruit for Belb comes from edenic hillside vineyards where chemicals have never been used. The winemaking matches the farming. The result is one in a million (think Moscato from Bera, the best possible alternate to Belb) – a focused wine, fresh and clean, with deep layers showing classic Moscato attributes like apricot and pear, delicate floral hints and nutty flavors. Belb is relatively low in residual sugar so it tastes fruity rather than cloying. We sell a lot of Belb to people looking for Barefoot or one of the other brands; despite the relatively high price they come back for more, converted. Jamie Wolff
Oltretorrente has produced a wonderful Timorasso since they were founded in 2010 by Chiara Penati and Michele Conoscenti. The vines, planted in 1996, are tended organically with biodynamic practices and the grapes are vinified simply: the bunches are pressed whole-cluster and fermented with native yeasts in steel, resting on the lees for 8 months to lend texture and complexity. A touch golden in the glass, the wine shows strong aromas of ripe peach, honey, beeswax, and yellow flowers. The palate has some weight with a smooth texture, plenty of acidity, and rich stone fruit over a chalky mineral backbone. Simultaneously rich and crisp this wine would bring levity plus flavor to starchy winter foods.
Orto di Venezia is a striking wine grown on the island of San Erasmo within the lagoon of Venice. Based on Malvasia Istriana but comprised of a number of other local cultivars all planted on its own root stock, the wine is deeply colored in the glass, with a nose reminiscent of ripe golden apples and honeysuckle undercut by a salty tone. The palate is bold, with an initial attack of juicy orchard fruit and rich texture, followed by a honeyed note giving way to a long savory finish. More than anything else, Orto shows a stern backbone of minerality bracing its mellow acidity and weight on the palate. I served it with shrimp cooked with their own stock and butter, but this wine would pair beautifully with anything out of the sea, soft cheese, or rich vegetable dishes. Open early and serve slightly chilled. Andy Paynter
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Manzoni froma small .6 hectare parcel above the town of Bolzano. The vines are only 10 years old, but are already producing a beautiful, textured white wine, that is both weighty and elegant. Quite floral on the nose, the palate shows notes of white blossom, ripe citrus, apricot, honey, and crushed vitamin candies. Decant before serving, or age for another few years. Oskar Kostecki
Equal parts Vitovska, Malvasia, Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio macerated for 10-15 days and then aged for 12 months on fine lees in 1500L-2000L tini. The 2017 Ograde has a vibrant peach hue, closer to ramato copper than pink. The nose is effusive with aromas of apricot, blood orange, chamomile, and bee pollen. The palate is textured and just-this-side of oily. Flavors of juicy guava, ripe stone fruits, and a savory ferruginous note dominate the palate (red soils?). While there are light tannic notes from the maceration, the subtle character from the extended lees contact adds a note of roundness on the mid-palate. The finish is bright and vibrant without some of the rancia character of some orange wines. A nice pairing with farro with pistachios, wild mushrooms, arugula, and roasted delicata squash, far better with whipped Salvatore ricotta, black pepper, and chestnut honey. In this case the flush of juicy stone fruit flavors with the creamy cheese and bitter honey was delightful delightful and more satisfying. This has good balance and complexity and it is worth the price of admission for the nose alone. I'd love to check in on this with a few years age or perhaps drink with heartier fare. John McIlwain
This is a zesty sparkling from the hills of Emilia-Romagna. A blend of organically farmed Trebbiano di Romagna and Pignoletto, fermented méthode ancestrale, and left on the lees in bottle. The nose is a mix of bright citrus fruits (lemon, lime), apple, and fresh grass, paired with more savory aromas of warm herbs. There is a chalkiness on the palate that is both a structural quality and a flavor profile, along with notes of apple and lime. David Hatzopoulos